Ballot battle: what made it to the November election

After months of court battles and appeals, we finally know what propositions will be on the November ballot.

In Arizona, citizens can make or change public policy by amending state statutes or the state constitution by sending the proposals to voters. According to Ballotpedia, there have been 111 propositions on statewide ballots between 1996 and 2016, including both citizen initiatives and items referred by the legislature.

This year ballot measures have been a hot topic in Arizona with multiple initiatives being sent to court for faulty wording and failure to follow strict compliance.

Chamber Business News breaks down the measures and their impact on the state.  

Proposition 125

Proposition 125 is a legislative referral that would make adjustments to retirement plans based on cost-of-living, instead of permanent benefit increases, for correctional officers, probation officers, surveillance officers (Corrections Officer Retirement Plan or CORP) and elected officials (Elected Officials’ Retirement Plan or EORP).

The Arizona Constitution provides that public retirement system benefits shall not be diminished or impaired. This ballot referral “would amend the constitution to create an exception to the prohibition against diminishing or impairing public retirement system benefits by allowing for certain adjustments” to CORP and EORP. Specific to CORP, Senate Bill 1442 will replace the current permanent benefit increase with 15 new compounding cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for retired corrections officer members and survivors of retired correction members who were hired on or after July 1, 2018. It would amend EORP by replacing current permanent benefit increases with a new compounding COLA for retired elected official members and survivors of retired elected official members. The bills regarding cost of living adjustments were already signed into law and are not subject to voter approval.

Click here for the Secretary of State’s list of arguments “for” and here for arguments “against.”

Proposition 126

This initiative would amend the state’s constitution, prohibiting all government entities (state, county, municipal, and other subdivisions/taxing districts) from imposing new or increasing transaction-based taxes, fees, stamp requirements, or assessments on any services performed in the state or the gross receipts of sales/services performed here. It will not repeal any tax, fee, stamp requirement, or assessment that was put into effect before December 31, 2017.

If it passes, the initiative would provide constitutional security to prevent future taxes on certain family, healthcare, personal, and professional services.

The campaign is led by Citizens for Fair Tax Policy.

Click here for the Secretary of State’s list of arguments “for” and here for arguments “against.”

Proposition 127

Prop. 127, also known as the Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona Act, is a constitutional amendment that would increase Arizona’s renewable portfolio standards (RPS). An RPS is a mandate requiring electric utilities to acquire a minimum amount of electricity from renewable energy sources. As of this year, Arizona’s RPS is 15 percent by 2025. Prop. 127 would increase that standard to 50 percent by 2030. The measure defines renewable energy as solar, wind, biomass, certain hydropower, geothermal, and landfill gas energies. It does not include nuclear, which is problematic for the state. California billionaire Tom Steyer is the leading the effort, while Arizonans for Affordable Electricity is in opposition.

Click here for the Secretary of State’s list of arguments “for” and here for arguments “against.”

Proposition 305

Prop. 305 is a veto referendum that puts the question to voters of whether to expand Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs). If passed, Senate Bill 1431, passed by lawmakers in 2017, would go into effect. This would gradually increase the percentage of students in kindergarten through twelfth grade who are eligible to receive an ESA to spend on educational assistance at a private or home-based school. It would also make changes to the current ESA program by requiring a policy handbook that would clarify parental rights to appeal the Department of Education’s eligibility decisions and spending information to be published on the website. It will also control the growth of the program by limiting new accounts each year through 2022 and eventually capping the number of new accounts.

Click here for the Secretary of State’s list of arguments “for” and here for arguments “against.”

Proposition 306

This legislative referral would make changes to the current Citizens Clean Election Act, which provides public funding for candidates for statewide and state legislative offices. It would prohibit candidates from making direct or indirect payments from their campaign account to a political party or a “private tax-exempt organization that is eligible to engage in activities to influence the outcome of a candidate election.”

The referral would also remove the Citizens Clean Election Commission’s exemption from Arizona’s rulemaking requirements and require the commission to receive approval from the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council to finalize any rule changes.

Click here for the Secretary of State’s list of arguments “for” and here for arguments “against.”

The election will be held on November 6, 2018. For the Secretary of State’s general election pamphlet, click here. To register to vote, click here; and to find your polling location, click here.

Emily Richardson

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